CLS: The Legends of Jazz
In a conversation with bassist, composer, and author Dwight Bailey and performer, composer, and producer Michael Shirtz, explore the music, lives, and legacy of the great giants of jazz and who are the the young inspiring artists of today.
About Dwight Bailey:
Dwight is a native of Detroit, Michigan. He started his musical journey, as a youngster, singing in the church choir and playing the drums. His early migration to Central Ohio is where he fell in love with the bass guitar. At the age of 14 his mother bought him a regular 6 string electric guitar. He somehow “Broke” off the 2 highest strings and instead of learning chords on the guitar, he focused more on learning bass lines.
During his early teenage years, Dwight enjoyed watching his favorite church musicians create incredible arrangements of popular gospel songs. It was the influence of those musicians like Joe Dunlap, Sr., Joe Jackson, Phillip Smedley Sr., Nuana Dunlap, Gary Brown, Michael Brown & the great Fred Hammond that inspired him to focus on the bass guitar.
As a new up and coming bassist, he would go on to perform in his high school jazz bands/choirs and eventually work with some of the most popular gospel groups and choirs in Central Ohio: Kenny Banks, TETREQ choir, the Hitch Singers, Freedom, Kim Rutherford, Anointed & Dawkins & Dawkins.
Dwight found his place as a sideman and has been a part of the music scene for many years. He has performed and toured with a variety of gospel, jazz and blues artist: Bobby Jones, Douglas Miller, Wilbert Longmire, David Gerald and Teeny Tucker, to name a few.
He has also worked with multiple Grammy Award Winning Artist and has toured the world, several times. Dwight has played some of the most prestigious stages/venues in the world…the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival, The North Sea Jazz Festival, The Montreux Jazz Festival, Primavera Sound Festival, Nice Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, Clearwater Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival & the Hollywood Bowl with artist such as Dr. John, Blind Boys of Alabama, TelMary, DeDe Bridgewater, Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, Anthony Hamilton, Marcus Belgrave, Arturo Sandoval and many more.
He currently serves as the bassist with the Columbus-based organization, The Harmony Project. Performing with the 500 voice choir and 30 piece orchestra continues to be one of the highlights of his musical career.
Today, Dwight continues to perform and tour with both local and international artist/bands.
About Michael Shirtz…
A performer, producer, composer and conductor, Michael Shirtz is known for his versatility with jazz, contemporary and classical music. Credited as a “songsmith”
for his vocal interpretations and arrangements, Shirtz is an active singer, vocal coach, and music director for educational, repertory theatre, collegiate, and pops music productions, currently serving as music director/producer for Maureen McGovern. As a performer Shirtz incorporates his interests in composing and arranging music with jazz, blues, funk, gospel, and singer/songwriter material. His Brubeckian piano playing is a direct influence in his own music. Having recorded and produced on other artists’ albums, Shirtz released his first solo album, Blue Skies in 2018.
Shirtz has served on the faculty of the Conservatory of Music at Capital University, American Music Academy, music faculty and dean at Terra State Community College, guest directorship with Pellissippi State College-Knoxville, and associate director/project manager of the Tri-C JazzFest & Performing Arts Series. Through education, he has focused on the methods of creative arts and innovation to build cultural enrichment and opportunities of economic and community development, including programs with NASA, Lakeside Chautauqua, and the Sandusky State Theatre. Shirtz was recognized by Ohio Magazine for Excellence in Education, Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award, and the Jazz Education Network’s President’s Service Award for developing programs that provided experiential learning and impacted regional communities through the arts.
Shirtz teaches music composition and arts entrepreneurship at the Heidelberg University School of Music & Theatre, conductor of the Symphony Chorale and Firelands Symphony School of Music, and artistic producer of the Jazz@8 Series presenting jazz concerts, workshops, and artists-in-schools programs. Shirtz has written music for choirs, orchestras, jazz bands, and theater, including the musical Headliner and major works The Solemn Blessings and In God’s Light. Shirtz received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from Capital University and Master of Music in Conducting from California State University, Los Angeles. Shirtz is a member of ASCAP, African American Jazz Caucus, American Choral Directors Association, Jazz Education Network, and an advocate for mental health awareness.
See Chautauqua Jazz Week Experience for more information about events happening throughout the week.
Lakeside’s Jazz Week is made possible by the Ohio Arts Council’s 2022 Arts Resiliency Initiative Community grant. The Ohio Arts Council is funded in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature. The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally and economically.